1. The Ministry of Finance is seeking public feedback on the draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2014.
2. We invite you to comment on the proposed policy changes and drafting of legislative amendments which give effect to these policy changes. Your views will help us improve the clarity of the legislative amendments and help ease compliance.
SCOPE OF THE CONSULTATION EXERCISE
3. The draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2014 provides for three changes to the Stamp Duties Act. The first two involve changes to existing stamp duty administration that arise from ongoing reviews of the stamp duty system. The third is a consequential amendment arising from the implementation of the Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) for industrial properties, introduced as part of the property market cooling measures last year. The changes are listed below:
a) Granting the Commissioner of Stamp Duties (COSD) the following discretionary power so as to provide more convenience to taxpayers. Presently, a taxpayer is required to lodge a claim for stamp duty refund with the COSD if he has overpaid stamp duty. He also needs to surrender the original instrument to COSD if he wishes to seek a refund. The proposed amendments will remove these two requirements by enabling the COSD to:
i. Allow stamp duty refunds to taxpayers when the COSD is able to ascertain that there is an overpayment of stamp duty, without the taxpayer having to lodge a refund claim.
ii. Remove  the requirement to surrender original instruments for refund claims.
b) Rationalising interest computation in the event of a claw-back of the stamp duty relief. Currently, stamp duty relief is provided for transfers of assets arising from business restructuring and mergers and acquisitions, subject to conditions. If the relief granted is subsequently withdrawn due to non-fulfillment of the conditions, interest on the stamp duty payable is charged from the date of execution of the document . As some taxpayers choose to pay the duty upon execution of documents and then apply for stamp duty relief, we propose to amend the Act to charge interest from the date the stamp duty was refunded upon granting the relief to these taxpayers.
c) Extending SSD relief to transfer of industrial properties arising from business restructuring. The SSD on industrial properties was introduced on 12 January 2013 to moderate the sharp increase in industrial property prices. The proposed relief is to minimise the SSD impact on bona fide business restructuring involving transfer of industrial properties.
4. The summary table lists all the changes and explains the amendments to the Stamp Duties Act and related amendments.
5. We would appreciate your full support and participation to ensure that the consultation exercise is productive. Respondents are requested to observe these guidelines:
a. please provide your name and the organisation you represent (if any) to enable us to follow up with you to clarify any issues, if necessary;
b. make your comments clear and concise;
c. please use the prescribed template provided to help us understand your feedback better;
d. your comments should focus on how the legislative amendments can be better written to make them clearer and to make compliance easier; and
e. as far as possible, please explain your points with illustrations, examples, data or alternative formulations of the amendments.
6. This draft legislation is released only for the purpose of consultation and should therefore not be used for individual or business decisions as it does not represent the final legislation or regulations. All comments received during the consultation exercise will be reviewed thoroughly and, if accepted, will be incorporated into the Bill for introduction in Parliament.
PERIOD OF CONSULTATION
7. The draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2014 is available for public consultation from 7 July 2014 to 25 July 2014. We regret that comments received after 25 July 2014 will not be considered for incorporation into the final Bill.
8. We encourage all interested participants to submit your comments via our online submission form. The online submission form is the easiest and quickest way for your comments to reach us. You can also send us your comments, using the prescribed template, through:
a. email to firstname.lastname@example.org ; or
b. fax to 6337 4134; or
c. post to:
Ministry of Finance
100 High Street, #10-01
SUMMARY OF RESPONSE
9. We will publish a summary of the main comments we receive on the Ministry Of Finance’s website, together with our responses, by September 2014. The identity of respondents will not be disclosed in the summary.
DOCUMENTS TO DOWNLOAD
10. For further reference, please click here to download the relevant documents relating to this public consultation exercise.
 IRAS may selectively call for the original instrument when evaluating the claims for stamp duty refunds.
 If the document is executed outside Singapore, interest is imposed from the date on which the document was first received in Singapore.